Winner of the Mara-Cassens Literature Prize
“A sensitive story of being torn in two, of being caught in the middle.”
The Summers narrates the coming of age of Leyla, who spends the school year in her mother’s home country of Germany but travels every summer to her father’s Kurdish village in Syria, near the Turkish border. There, with her grandparents and Yazidi friends, she comes alive. She knows the village’s smells and tastes; she knows the villagers’ stories. She knows where they keep their suitcases hidden, should they need to escape again.
As Leyla grows older, her sexual awakening takes a back seat to her cultural discoveries. She becomes increasingly disenchanted with her German classmates and friends’ indifference when ISIS troops enter the village, threatening the lives of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Thoughtful and poignant, The Summers addresses issues of gender, sexuality, cultural difference, politics, and identity. Ronya Othmann draws readers into multiple worlds, ultimately revealing the hopes and dreams that bind us all together when forces threaten to tear us apart.
Praise for the German Edition
“The story of a search for identity, but above all it is a cultural archive that is laid out with sparse literary flourishes, but wide-awake attention to detail and atmospheric undercurrents.”
“Deals with the theme of identity without the usual kitsch that is so often used to write about origins.”
“A stunning debut novel, told concretely and vividly, with strong characters and dialogues.”
—Deutschlandfunk Kultur Lesart
“Captivating. . . . The Summers is an intricate, powerful novel in which a woman comes of age between two worlds.”
Of Related Interest
LC: 2022028870 PT
210 pp. 5.5 x 8.5